02 Apr 2021
As the world takes a holiday break on Good Friday, Christians remember and reflect on how Jesus Christ gave his life on the cross some 2000 years ago. Jesus left his heavenly throne, to come and lay down his life for the very people who rebelled against him. There is no other king like Jesus. Come and find out about the unconditional love this King has for his people in this Good Friday Service.
You know Good Friday is a very special day for many people. To some people. Good Friday is like a holiday. I reached out to a lot of basketballers in the Punggol community and to them it is a holiday where they can enjoy basketball and enjoy a time that they can spend together with one another. For families they enjoy this day because they can spend time with their family members: going for a hike going to botanic garden or whatever. To some people, Good Friday is just another day that they have to complete their tasks at home or whatever. For some people, they don't know what Good Friday is. They mistake Good Friday as Easter Sunday and they mistaken Good Friday as bunny and to find the eggs and stuff.
But to some people Good Friday is a time where we remember the cross of Jesus Christ. That is why Christians we come together on Good Friday, on a Friday during this holiday to come and celebrate Jesus and to remember what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross 2000 years ago. And today I want to bring us through a journey of what actually happened 2000 years ago from 4pm, all the way to 3pm at the cross of Jesus Christ. You know, the title of today's sermon is No Other King. There is no other king that will lay down his life for the people that rebelled against him. If there is something that you cannot remember, just remember this simple quote: there is no other King who would give His life for the redemption of the rebels. We are the rebels, we rebelled against God. But yet at the same time, the King Jesus came down to die for the sins of the whole wide world.
You know, you may have heard a lot of stories recently where there are people protest against the government because the government, the leaders are doing something wrong and other stuff. But yet, today we see a king, not just the king that loves us, the good and gracious king that loves us, this king lay down his life for the very people that rebelled against him, the very people that sinned against him. Let's look at this simple story. And the person we want to remember today is Jesus. You know, my prayer is that our heart will not draw cold towards the gospel. We have been hearing these stories many, many times, every single Sunday, PJ will tell you about Jesus, about the gospel. But I pray that the word of God will not return to us void. I pray that word of God will bring in remembrance of what Christ has done for us. And maybe today you are not a Christian, I pray that you will investigate the life of Jesus. But for those of you that are Christians, I pray that God will warm the cockles of your heart, that your heart will melt because of what Christ has done for you on that cross.
4am – 6am: Jesus’ trial before Annas and Caiaphas
So, let's go hour by hour. Of course, this is not exactly the minute by minute, second by second but a rough guideline on what actually happened from 4am to 6pm. We all know the story before 4am. Right? Jesus went to Gethsemane, he cried out to God, “God, if it is possible, remove this cup of suffering from me,” and Jesus continued to say, “Not my will but Thy be done.” And this all happened in the garden of Gethsemane. And after that the Romans, the soldiers, the Jewish leaders came and arrest Jesus Christ. And the soldier and the captain and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound him.
Matthew 26:57, 59-60
They capture Jesus and they lead Jesus to a trial. You know what happened in the life of Jesus, he was innocent. He did not sin. In fact, he went around helping people doing miracles, healing the sick and giving to the poor and doing many things and he did not do anything wrong. But yet these Jewish leaders were just jealous of Jesus, they let him to Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests during then and the high priests or the religious leaders will come together to just want to put Jesus to death. They were jealous of Jesus. They went, the high priests were all coming together to bring in false witnesses, false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found nothing. (Matthew 26:57,59-60) They found nothing. The Jewish leaders just want Jesus to die, because they were jealous of Jesus, but they found nothing. In fact, even bringing many false witnesses to come to the court and accuse Jesus for something that he did not do. They found nothing. And then they continue to move on. I want to just move on quickly to tell you what actually happened.
And then of course, the high priests found something that they can go against Jesus, “Tell us if you are Christ, the Son of God.” And of course, Jesus said, “You have said so.” And then they say that you are blasphemy. How can you claim to be the Son of God? You are the son of a carpenter, I seen you grow up, how can you claim to be God Himself. And they began to tear their clothes apart and they would ask everyone, what is your sentence? They say they want Jesus to die.
What is your judgment? They answered, “He deserved death.” Death is all they want; they want Jesus to die. They spit in his face, strike him, some even slap him. The very Jesus, the very dear Jesus, who died for you 2000 years ago. Who is Jesus to you? They struck him, spit at him. It's just degrading him, slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” That is what happened 2000 years ago, and not just that. Because they realize that they can't put Jesus to death because they're under the Roman Empire. They can't just send someone to death. So, they have to bring him before Pontius Pilate and Herod.
6am-6am Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate and Herod
And they brought Jesus before the governor, to Pilate, they bound him and let him away and to deliver him over to the government. (Matthew 27:1-2) And when the governor heard about who this Jesus is, he was just asking him Jesus, what have you done? All this accusation, is it true? Is it false? And Jesus said, “I've done nothing wrong,” in a sense. Jesus stayed silent. And Jesus did not defend himself and Jesus continue to be silent and what happened was that Pilate, the governor cannot find anything against Jesus. And because what happened next is that okay, you know, what, I cannot find anything about this Jesus, but yet the religious leaders keep accusing him, keep wanting him to be dead. So Pilate sent him to another person, and another person's Jurisdiction, because he is Galilean. (Luke 23:6-7) He sent him over to Herod, who himself is in Jerusalem doing then. So, Jesus was being spit, mocked, sent to Pilate, and then said to another governor, and then what happened was that in Herod’s place, he cannot find anything against Jesus again. In fact, he wanted to see Jesus because of all the miracles that Jesus Christ has done in Jerusalem during then. He just wanted to see Jesus and they interrogate Jesus, but yet they cannot find anything. So sent back to Pilate. And what happened again, Pilate during then go to the Jewish religious leader, and said, “I cannot find anything wrong against Jesus, he did nothing wrong. Why are you accusing him of? But the people just want Jesus to be dead. Even the wife of Pilate told Pilate, you know what, this man is a righteous man he did nothing wrong. He appeared in my dreams in a sense and I'm afraid he's a righteous man. Don't do anything. Wash your hands. Don't send him to die, don’t send him to the cross.
But because the Jewish leaders were just creating a havoc at the place and headquarter, Pilate decided to do something. During this time, there was a customary to release a prisoner. They have this crazy prisoner called Barabbas. And they gather together and say whom do you want me to set free? Who do you want me to release to you, Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ? (Matthew 27:15-17)
This innocent man or this person that have done evil, rape countless people, have committed murder and so on so forth. Whom will you want me to release? The Jewish leaders and the people say, “Jesus, Jesus, Crucify Him, crucify him.” That is the very Jesus who died for us on the cross innocently. He knew that it was out of envy that they have him delivered. (Matthew 27:18) The very Jesus, that was perfect, sinless, the very Jesus that loves you and me, they have to go to such lengths to crucify him.
So, no choice because Pilate wished to satisfy the crowd, he released for them Barabbas and having to scourge Jesus. You know, what happened was, the word, scourge was during then in the Roman Empire, they will use a cat of nine tails, they will whip Jesus 39 times and that is the customary where they have to be punished in a sense in Pilate’s headquarters, they want him to be crucified. The soldiers let him away in the headquarters and they called together the whole battalion. (Mark 15:15-16) A whole platoon of Roman soldiers is about 420 men; they will gather around Jesus. Remember, this man was innocent. He did nothing wrong. But yet they would flog Jesus, they will hit Jesus 39 times with the cat of nine tails. And the cat of nine tails for those of you that don't know, it was a small little handle with leather tongs, with small bones, small little fish bones and metal balls. And all within this place and the Roman soldier, by the way, Roman soldiers are not skinny and tiny, they were fit and strong, they will use the cat of nine tails whip Jesus 39 times. By the way, the metal ball and the fish bones will latch onto Jesus. And every time when the flesh is being pulled, some flesh came up. That is how Jesus had to die for you and for me, I cannot imagine if we were there at the scene, how terrible it will be for Jesus to have suffered all these things. 39 times one, two, and three, Jesus remained silent for what reason? Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to go through such suffering? For what? For you and for me, for our sins, He remembered at the cross he wants to do the Father's will, remember the prayer that he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “God, if it's possible, remove this cup from me, this cup of suffering from me, but nevertheless, not my will but Thy be done”, he wants to obey the Father's will. Even to the point of death, he humbled himself. Remember this king, the King of kings and the Glory of glories, stepped down as man, 100% Man, 100% God, to go through all these things for you and for me, and not just that. 39 times he whipped Jesus; he was all bloody. The Bible say his face is more marred than any man normal can even recognize his face because he's so disfigured. I don't know about you, but I have been hooked by fish bone before on the throat and it was so irritating, it's so painful. Can you imagine the nine tails use fish bones to hook on Jesus’ flesh, and just tear Jesus’ flesh out? Bloody, and scary.
And not just that, they continue to mock this innocent man, Jesus, the King of kings and the glory of glory. And they put him in a purple cloth and twisting together a crown of thorns to mock Jesus. They begin to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews, and they begin to strike his head with a reed and spit on him and kneeling down before him just to mock him. They stripped him of the purple cloth and put his own clothes on him. (Mark 15:17-20 Can you imagine with open wounds, because of the wounds that were inflicted by a Roman soldier, open wound, and then you put a cloak on the open wound. What happened is that the blood would dry up and the cloak will stick onto the blood. And that was going to happen. And then they stripped him out of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Can you imagine that it is going to bleed again, can you imagine the agony that Jesus has to face? But let me tell you something, this physical suffering is nothing compared to a suffering Jesus is going to suffer later on the cross.
8am – 8.30am: Jesus carries His cross to Golgotha
At about 8am to 8:30am, Jesus carries the cross. He was sent to Golgotha, to the Calvary to be sentenced, to be crucified. And he was so weak that someone called Simon have to come and carry his cross. (Matthew 27:32) It was about 600 meters from the Romans headquarters all the way to the Calvary then Jesus has to carry this heavy block of wood to the cross. Bloody, innocent men, and not just innocent, he is the king.
9am: Jesus is crucified
And Jesus was crucified at 9am. At the third hour, that was when they crucified Jesus. Third hour in our modern days means 9am. And they would charge him reading, “See, this is your king, the King of the Jews” and they crucified with him two robbers, one on the left, and one on the right. (Mark 15:25-26) What happened after 9am? He was hung on the cross by the nails. The very nails that hung Jesus on the cross, to here and here and to the legs. It was a terrible scene. And if you know crucifixion is one of the most terrible capital punishments invented in the olden times, the Roman soldiers, the inventor of crucifixion. Crucifixion is a very scary and long-suffering kind of death. And every breath that Jesus was hung on the cross, every breath that he takes, he has to lift himself up, bearing the weight of the whole body just to breathe. One breath and one breath and one breath. Why did Jesus have to go through such suffering for you and for me?
9am – 9.30am: Jesus prays for them
And not just that. As he's suffering, these are the last sayings of Jesus. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34a) Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. When we are suffering, we are always thinking about ourselves. But when Jesus, the King of glory was suffering, he was thinking for you and for me. The people do not know what they are doing. I did that because I was sent by the father, because I love you. And that's why Jesus went to the cross. And the cast lots to divide his garments (Luke 23:34b)
9.30am-11am: The soldiers watch over the crucifixion and mock Jesus
At about 9am to 11am, the soldiers will watch over the crucifixion and mock Jesus. And the people that stood there, people will continue to mock Jesus, “He saved others, let Him save himself, if he's the Christ, if he is the Christ of God, his chosen one.” If he’s that, then come down and save yourself. And the soldiers continue to mock him, continue to come and offer sour wine and say, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” If you can save other people, come down. Can you imagine if I am God, if I'm Jesus, reverentially, I will call down angels and to consume all of them because they are just mocking God Himself. But yet God says forgive them, for they know not what they do. That's what happened, they continue to mock.
11am-12pm: Jesus speaks to the thieves on either side and His Mother, Mary and to John
At about 11am to 12pm, Jesus spoke to the thief on either side. And he also spoke to Mary, his mother, and John. What happened was one of the thieves begin to mock Jesus, fake all fake. But the other thief says, this man is a righteous man. How can you say all these things and he tells Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43) That’s a promise that is given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Three last words was for people around him. And he continues to say at the cross, he said, “Woman, behold your son,” to his mother, and to his disciple, John, “Behold, your mother.” Even at the last minute before he has to go through a terrible death, not just a physical death, he's going to suffer a crazy death. He remembers people around. He remembers, forgive them for they know not what they do. He remembers the thief on the cross. He remembers even his earthly duty towards his earthly mother. That is who Jesus is.
12pm – 3pm: Three hours of darkness descends upon the land
At 12pm to 3pm, there was three hours of darkness that descended upon the entire land. It was pitch dark. What happened during this moment, I believe is where the wrath of God meets the mercy of God, Where God, Jesus Christ Himself, have to be punished, have to be separated from God the Father. Just imagine this with me, total darkness.
3pm: Jesus’ last few words
Then at 3pm, Jesus said his last words, cry out, “Abba, Father, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) For the three hours of darkness, that was where Jesus paid for all of our sins. Just think about it for all eternity. God, the Father, God, the son and God, the Holy Spirit were never separated. But for you and for me, God the Father, have to turn his face away from God the Son. The first saying, Father forgive them, for they know what they do, right? The second time when God the Son called out to the father, not just my father but he called, my God, my God. God the Father turn his face away from God the Son. That is where the wrath of God was satisfied through the son. All of our sins, all the sins that we have committed, our past, present and even our future sins. For all the people that have ever lived on this earth before, millions of people, I don't know how many people out there, he died for every sins that was committed by us. The lies that we tell our parents, when the husband horn at some other car, when we display anger, when we display ingratitude, when we steal our parents time, money or whatever, when bosses take advantage of the employer or employer take advantage of the employee or whatever. All the sins, the lust, the adultery, the times we watch things that we should not watch, the times that we look at things that we should not look, the times that we say things that are unkind and unbiblical. These are the very sins that God died for you. For what reason? For you and for me. That was the first time in all eternity, God the Father turn his face away from the son, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Then Jesus said, knowing that all this was done, he said, “I thirst”. (John 19:28-29) He’s still a human, 100% God and 100% men. He said, “I thirst”, and he drank the sour wine. And when Jesus received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30) He did not say, I am finished, he said, It is finished. What is finished? Our sins, all the evil deeds that we have done, or think, or say, all of our sins have been complete, forgiven, paid off. Everything has been paid on the cross, and he bowed his head and give up his spirit. (John 19:30) And he says, Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit, and he breathed his last breath. (Luke 23:46) All the things that God suffered, is not just the physical suffering, it is the separation from God the Father. That is the agony that God has to go through for you and for me.
And when that happened, the curtains of the temple were torn in two, from top to bottom. It was a thick curtain, from top to bottom. It was an act of God, for us now to have free access to Jesus Christ, to have free access to God the Father, because of what Christ have done on the cross. There were people that says, when all these things happen, “Truly, this was the son of God.” (Matthew 27:54) Then many people were realizing that this is the very Jesus they crucified, he was the very Jesus, He was the Son of God, he was the Savior, he was the chosen one who came to die for the sins of the whole world. Just think about the sins that we have committed yesterday, and even today, or even in the near future, all of our sins were bore on the cross. That's what happened. Jesus died on the cross for us on the Good Friday. That's why we come and remember the severity of our sins, the sinfulness of our hearts.
This may seem like a bad news, right. But have you ever wondered, why would Jesus have to go through all that? Let me give you two simple reasons before I close. The first reason is this, because we are the very people that hung Jesus on the cross. We are the very people that nailed Jesus on the cross. It wasn't the Roman soldiers. Yes, they physically did that. But it was our sins, it was us the sinners.
First reason: because we are the rebels
There's no other king who would give his life for the redemption for the rebels because we are the rebels. We are the very people that are defiant against God, we are the very people that go against God. In fact, the Bible tells us that we were dead in sins. If you are a Christian, just remember this, right? You were dead in sins. (Ephesians 2:1) You were like a dead man walking with no direction. Yes, you are living, but you have no clue of what the purpose of life is. You are living from children, all the way to teenager, to university, to get married and have kids and then you become old, and you die. And then what was the purpose, you are just like a dead man walking with no direction, you were dead in sins, because in your mother's womb, you are already in sin. In your mother's womb, there's already sin in your mother's womb, you will just dead in sin, we were enemies of God, which once you walked.
Not just you are dead in sin, you are following the world. Whatever the world tells you, you will just follow them. If the world tells you that this is right, but then the Bible tells you this is wrong. You will just follow the world because this is who we were, we will lie to get our way. We will do nasty things, we will say unkind words, we will do all the things that pleases me, I and myself. We are just following the system of the world that defile against God and His principles and His value. We were just following the world; we were following the devil. (Ephesians 2:2) We were just doing what we want. Passion of our flesh, carrying the desire of the body and the mind. (Ephesians 2:3) We just do what we want. We don't care about God. There's no God in a sense, and we just do whatever we want. That was who we were before we become a Christian. That was who we were, before God came to save us from our sins, that was who we were before God opened our eyes to see his glorious truth.
I was saved 15,16 years ago, and I remember that story where Christ died for my sins, and I gave my life to God. And from that point onwards, everything began to change. I was living for myself, but now I'm living for God. And not just that, this is who you were, you were rebelling against God, you were just doing whatever you want and were by nature children of wrath. (Ephesians 2:3)
We are doomed. We were doomed in a sense. We were heading towards hell because we are sinful. You are not born good, we are born evil, we are the one that is rebelling against God. That is who we will. The Bible say in Romans 3, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We all have sinned. There's no such thing as oh, you sin less, or you sin more. We all have sinned, and we fall short of the glory of God. Just think about the very sins that you have committed in the past: that lust, that adultery, that fornication, disobedience to the parents, that covetousness, that greediness when we see someone has something better and then we have nothing, we become greedy. And these are just sins that I can just list out. And we know that we are all sinful people. We were rebelling against God; we were falling short. And the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) If we have sinned, we will have to be punished because that is our punishment. The Bible say it is not just the physical first death, it is the spiritual death that we were supposed to be separated from God forever and ever. This seems like bad news. That's why Jesus had to come to die. This seems like everything is gloom and without hope, It seems like we are separated from God, we are dead in sins, we are just following the world, we are the rebellious people.
Second reason: because God loves you
But the second reason I want to tell you is this, not just that we are the rebels. Why does the king have to come and die for you? Not just because we are the rebels, we are the rebels that God has to come and saved is because God loves you very, very much. How much? In the same verses, in Ephesians Chapter Two, this is what the Bible say. This is who we were before we become Christians, before we become believers of Christ. This is what God says, this is who we will. But what happened was that God made a way for all of us. “But God”, “but God”, to me, this is one of the most beautiful two words in the Bible. When everything seems gloomy, where everything seems like we are heading towards hell and the internal separation from God the Father. There, God says, “but God”.
You know, a few months ago, there was a movie called Avengers. And there was this Thanos, the evil guy that was plotting against the entire humankind. I believe the devil want to wipe out all of us. He hopes that all of us don't become Christians, he hopes all of us will not believe in Jesus Christ. And there was this scene. It was a very dramatic scene where he was left with Captain America. The rest are all limping already or die already or just cannot make it already. And it was left with Captain America, fighting against Thanos and his legions of Army. When everything seems hopeless, how can Captain America who is already wounded, how can he win the battle? This is the scene that I remember very, very dearly. It was the scene where the Avengers assemble. It was the scene. By the way, the first time in my history of my watching movie career or technology career but the first I watch movie. It was the first time I experienced people shouting. People were clapping, people were shouting, “Wakanda forever” that kind of stuff. There were people like literally shouting, “Assemble”, I was with the youth I remember very, very vividly. It was a scene of victory. It was not just to the avengers but even to the people watching the movie that captures some emotion. And it was a crazy scene, right? They came through some portal or whatever time travel I don't know what is it called. And they came in and defeated Thanos. This very scene reminded me of the scene 2000 years ago when everything seems gloomy. When everything seems hopeless. We were dead in sins, we're just following the world and not just that, we are children of wrath. We were doomed but God, but the Avenger came to the rescue. This is not the Avenger. This is Jesus Christ Himself. But God came into the picture. He made a way for us. Why? Because he was being just rich in his mercy. Do you know what is mercy? Mercy is something that we deserve. We were supposed to be deserving of hell but God withholding that punishment from us. That is mercy.
God being rich in mercy. He saves us. And not just because he's rich in mercy, the king has to come down to rescue the very people that hung him on the cross because he loves you and me because of the great love in which he loved us. (Ephesians 2:4-5) That is the love that is unconditional. I come from a family that I don't understand what this unconditional love is before I become a Christian. Everything is conditional. If I do this, then I will be rewarded. If the husband were to be more loving, then the wife will submit more. The wife may wonder if my husband would be more loving then I will submit more, and it becomes very conditional. If my child does well in exam then I will be nicer to him, I will buy what he wants. It is very, very conditional. But the kind of love that God grant to us is not a conditional love. It is an unconditional love. It is not just an unconditional love. The Bible says that even when we dead in sin, even when we do not want to do anything about God, but God came into our life. It was God that open our eyes to see his wondrous truth. It was the very Jesus they have to be mocked, scourged, beaten, punished, spit at, slap at, hung on the cross for you and for me. Why? Because he remembers you. All of our sins have been paid off. He made us alive, and the Bible continues to say. “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away now have been brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:13) That is why Jesus Christ have to come and die for our sins. That's why the King of Kings, the Glory of Glories, has to step down to a human form, humble himself, to be obedient, even to the point of death. That is what Christ has done for you.
D.A. Carson said this, “It was not nails that held Jesus to that wretched cross. It was his unquantified resolution, out of his love for his Father to do his father's will. – and it was his love for sinners, like me.” I was that terrible sinner, I was that rebel that go against God, but God loves me. Tim Keller said this. This is the essence of Christianity. “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe. Yet at the very same time, we are more loved and more accepted in Christ Jesus than we ever dared hope.” Yes, you are the rebel. But God loves you and me. You are the very people that God came to die for the sins of the whole world. But God show his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) He loves you; he loves me, and he loves you unconditionally. That is what Christ has done. There's why Good Friday is called Good Friday for a reason. It's not called Bad Friday. It's called Good Friday because our sins have been forgiven. The very sins that you commit yesterday, today, it was the very sins that hung Jesus on the cross. That's why Jesus had to die, and not just he had to die for us. The Bible says that “We are now justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved from the wrath of God,” (Romans 5:9) We are spared from the wrath of God. Now we have hope. We have life. Now we are not just saved from his wrath, we are now “reconciled to God for all eternity, by the death of his son” (Romans 5:10). That is why on Good Friday, Christ, His son had to come to pay the price that we cannot pay. Someone said this, “He came to pay a debt that he doesn't owe.” He was the holy, innocent, sinless man. He did good, he was gracious, he was kind to the people all around, he did so many things for his people. All the way to the cross, he did nothing wrong. “He came to pay a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt that we cannot pay”. We cannot wash away our sins. We need God Himself to come. Without the shedding of blood, there's no remission of sin, (Hebrews 9:22) there's no forgiveness of sin. We are cleansed by his blood.
I will end with this. What? So, what do I do now? If you're a Christian, I hope that sincerely the gospel will not grow cold to your heart, I know how easily for us as Christians for the gospel to grow cold. It's so easy for us to be lukewarm. It's so easy for us to just go to church every Sunday, just to pay a duty and just sing some song in our hearts and just pay some offerings and to listen to a sermon, sometimes can be funny, sometimes not funny, sometimes can be boring, sometimes not boring, or whatever the case. Let me tell you something, it is not just that. What does Christ want us to do as a believer? In the same chapter in Ephesians, Chapter Two Verse Eight and Ten, God says believers, of course, Ephesians was written to believers then. He says that “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” (Ephesians 2:10) You are not saved by good works. You are saved, Christians, for good works. Are you doing any good works in your life, “which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”? (Ephesians 2:10) Believers, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is our motivation, right? His love for us. That's why we want to serve him. That's why we want to walk in the truth that God has given to us. That's what God called us not to be lukewarm. God calls us to be passionate, to serve with zeal, to help the poor, to bring the gospel, even unto the end of the world, to disciple people that are new in the faith, God calls us to do so many things in our life as believers. Don't be lukewarm. Start serving, start growing, attend CG, attend small groups, serve in community, serve in areas that God has given to you, that we should walk in them. You know, all the things that Christ has done for you, it's not for you to be laid back and comfortable at the bed. God left his comfort zone, his heavenly throne, so that we can now be an example for the rest. He set an example for us so that we can serve people, we can love people, we can disciple people, we can love our enemies, and forgive our debtors, so on and so forth. That's what God call us to do. It's time for us to come alive. It's time for us to return to the first love that God has given to us. Stop living for yourself, believers.
But another group of people I want to emphasize are the non-believers. And if you're watching online or on here, and maybe this is the first time you hear the story of Jesus, how he has to go through so much suffering, for what? For us, for you and for me. The Bible say in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for you and for me, and God says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) And if you today still think that by doing good works, I can earn my way to salvation, I can have eternal life, I can have a ticket to heaven. Let me tell you something good works doesn't save you. If you can do good works, then Jesus did not have to come and to lay his life as a ransom for many people. Because we can’t save ourselves. Remember, we are dead in sin, we can’t save ourselves, so Jesus had to come and die. And he is a gift of God, not a result of works. And God has given us this greatest gift, his only son. And when I give you a gift, you have a few choices. One is to reject the gift and says I do not want anything to do with this gift that God has given to me. The second choice you can make is that you know what this is an amazing gift, I want to accept it by faith. I'm not sure if it's true, but I want to accept it. I want to investigate whether this gift is what you claim to be, and this very gift is Jesus Christ Himself. Investigate if you're not a Christian, investigate about the life of Jesus Christ. Ask those people that brought you to church. Ask them what Christ has done for you. Ask them how Christ has changed their lives. He is a gift.
“For the wages of sin is death. But the free gift of God is the eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) 2000 years ago, Christ came to pay a price that we cannot pay. That's what Christ have done. This is why Jesus have to come to die for our sins. He says, “Whoever who call upon the name of the Lord, who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) If you are not a Christian, and you want to know how to be saved, call on Him through prayer. Ask God, if you're real, show it to me. Ask someone, go look at the Bible, God show me that he is real to the Word of God. Investigate the Bible, go and find out what the Bible has to talk about Jesus Christ and all the historical facts and scientific facts that is proven in the Bible. Go and investigate, go and ask someone about it. The Bible clearly said that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) It is a promise given to those who accept Him as our Lord and Savior. He came to pay a price. He completed the price, he paid for our sins. He said, “It is finished”, our sins have been forgiven. Don't need to earn your way anymore.
My dear brothers and sisters, my non-Christian friends, I beg you, I pray that you will come to faith, I pray that you will come to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I remember my story. 15 years ago, I was saved. God brought me out of a crazy period of my life. I gave my life to Jesus, and my life has purpose, my life is changed because of Jesus.
I want to end with this simple thing. God loves you very much. Yes, you were the rebel, the very rebel that our King has to come to die for you because he loves you. And I pray that you will receive this love of God in your life, receive it by faith. And Christians, let's start to live for Jesus because of the very gospel that first saved us in our life.
Let us bow with a word of prayer. You know, Good Friday is good, because Jesus came, humbled himself to the point of death, submitting himself to the will of the Father. And it is because of his love for us, for you and for me. He did all these things for you and for me, he loves you unconditionally. Christians, even right now, as we live our life, sometimes we still sin but I pray that it will not be sin that is dominating in our life, but it will be the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every day of our life let's remember, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s remember the gospel, that how he came to reconcile sinful people like us, to a holy God. We don't deserve any of this. But yet, God, out of His grace and His mercy that he keeps giving to us. Maybe today you are not yet a Christian. I pray that you investigate who Jesus is, I pray that you will find out what Christ has done for you and for me. All of our sins have been paid, forgiven at the cross where Jesus suffered. God, we want to pray for everyone in this room. We pray that you will continue to speak to us not just in this sermon, but I pray that as we open your word, speak to us, help us to remember the gospel, live the gospel, and to give the gospel. May the death of our Lord Jesus Christ help us to rekindle the passion for you. Restore the joy of our Lord of our salvation, Lord, restore the joy. I pray that you will help us to even go back to our first love that we have forgotten. Help us to return to the cross, help us to return to the Garden of Gethsemane. Help us to remember the Calvary of what you have done on the cross for us. We thank you for this time, will you continue to work in your people's heart. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
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